Birth Parents

It is letterbox time again, here at Bear HQ which has got me thinking about Little Bear’s birth parents, Sian and Joseph. I have to confess that I am feeling quite discombobulated about the whole thing. I am confused about how I feel about them, how I should feel about them and what I should do going forwards. Brace yourselves readers while I blog it out.

So, last year’s Letterbox was, in my opinion, a bit of a cock up. You can read about it here: Letterbox Update In short, I suspect that the letter I wrote languished upon a disorganised Social Worker’s desk for the best part of 7 months before even an attempt was made to get it to its rightful destination. At the time I was upset about it because I felt it wasn’t fair for Sian and Joseph. If I was them and the only contact I had with the child I had given birth to was an annual letter, I would really want my letter. I would want it when I knew it was due. No doubt they drew all sorts of conclusions as to why we hadn’t bothered to send it.

Sian and Joseph didn’t reply to the letter, which I felt was a bit strange as they both attended court and showed signs of wanting to do the best they could in the current circumstances for Little Bear. Several months after his birthday we did receive some birthday cards from them (which no doubt had been sent at the right time but had also languished in the mountainous pile of paperwork on the desk). In the card Sian had written that she was sorry for not replying to our letter, she just didn’t have the words.

I felt sad once again reading that statement. Of course she doesn’t have the words, she is probably heart-broken; she is potentially never going to see her youngest child again. For me, rightly or wrongly, that sentence says “help me”. It says, “I have no idea how to go about writing this letter, though I do really want to”. And, if as I suspect, Sian also has speech and language difficulties like Little Bear, not only will she be struggling metaphorically to find the words but literally too.

In order to try to right the wrongs of last year and get us back on track this year, I contacted said disorganised Social Worker before our Letterbox was due. I suggested (again) that Sian and Joseph might need some help with Letterbox. I also asked how they are and how Little Bear’s birth siblings are.

Now this is where things get murky and I get very confused. I know that they can’t tell us much about how things are as it would be a breach of confidentiality. Obviously I am not asking them to do that. I am not asking for Joseph and Sian’s place of employment, inside leg measurement or bank details. All I really want to know is are they vaguely ok? Are they dead? Are they in prison? Are they homeless? Are they rampaging around the country trying to locate Little Bear? I just feel that it would be useful, as an adopter, to have a vague sense of whether they are functioning in their lives or not. I would also like to know whether they pose any danger to Little Bear or us or not. I have no real sense of this due to the paucity of information in my possession.

I suppose I have half an eye on the future, when Little Bear might decide he wants to track them down. I need a sense of who exactly these people are. They could make attempts to find him before then. But would they? I have literally no idea.

Anyway, so I posed the ‘how are they?’ question. The Social Worker (who gives Social Workers in general a bad name) initially ignored my question. I had asked it on the phone several months ago and now again by e-mail. She eventually did respond to my e-mail but not the part about Sian and Joseph. So I asked again. This time she said that she was going to ask their Social Worker to contact them to ask if they can share more information with us. This was not what I envisaged happening.

If I were them I might well tell Social Services to F off. It makes us seem like really nosy so and sos and they must wonder what on earth we want to know and why. It also makes me wonder if what I am asking for is out of the ordinary. Am I living in some sort of dream world where I don’t actually need to know this information? A basic, “yes they’re fine, nothing has really changed” or “they are having a difficult time at the moment” or “I don’t think they’ve really accepted the adoption” or “they seem to have moved on with their lives” would have sufficed.

I can’t help thinking that I’ve annoyed said Social Worker with my persistent questions and that she is being purposefully obstructive. I definitely think that Social Services would have much preferred it if we had just adopted a child from their LA care and run off into the sunset, never to bother them again.

Not able to keep my mouth shut, I also persevered on the point about supporting Sian and Joseph with Letterbox. Apparently if they want some support they can come to the Post Adoption Support Team and ask for it. I find the idea of them actually doing that completely unrealistic. Why would they come, cap in hand, to the very people who removed their children, to ask for help? Surely the days of them feeling that Social Services can help them are long gone? I have been living a delusional fantasy that there might be some sort of follow up or after-care for people who have lost their children. Surely it would be more beneficial for society to try to support birth parents, help them to grieve, help them with moving on whilst trying to keep them on the straight and narrow? Surely losing your children is a big precipitating factor for other issues such as mental health difficulties or drug or alcohol addiction?

However, recent thinking has left me reflective. Evidently my utopian view of social work is unrealistic in the context of austerity and cuts to services. I don’t suppose social workers do have time to be keeping track of where birth parents have got to and what they are up to at the moment. I guess they do have to prioritise families that still have children in them. And the question that burns most on my lips: why am I taking the birth parents side in all this anyway?

I think that had Sian and Joseph physically or sexually abused Little Bear I would be a lot clearer on my feelings towards them. I wouldn’t have the same sense of loyalty and I certainly wouldn’t feel sorry for them. I don’t mean to belittle the neglect that they did inflict on Little Bear, because I know only too well the long term and pernicious consequences of it. However, I do think it is possible to unknowingly or accidentally neglect someone in a way that you certainly couldn’t accidentally sexually abuse someone. It is not Sian’s fault that she herself had a shitty upbringing and is not equipped with the skills to parent. I keep coming back to the fact that it is a very unfortunate set of circumstances and foolishly or not, I do feel sorry for them. I feel a perverse moral duty to do the right thing by them, despite the fact that they have caused my son’s developmental trauma.

I suppose, on a human level, I know they must be suffering and I don’t want that for anyone. And also, despite anything that happens, we are already inextricably linked by the fact that their son is our son.

I do wonder whether I might not have such a rose-tinted view if I was furnished with a little bit more information though. After all, people do not have their children removed from their care for just a little bit of carelessness.

The thing is where do we go now? We have always said that we would be open to the idea of meeting Sian and Joseph but if we can’t even get Letterbox sorted it is hard to see how we might be able to work towards that. Is my pro-active (if perfect world) approach to the Social Worker causing us more problems? Is her communication with Sian and Joseph impacting on their opinion and willingness to work with us? Are we ever going to move forwards?

I’m starting to think that I’m wasting my energy. Perhaps I should just send our Letterbox contribution off into the deep blue yonder and think no more about it?

This is about Little Bear though. What is best for him? That is the crux of my thinking and is so difficult to answer because I just don’t think I have enough information to say. At the very least I want to be able to tell him that we tried and, to the consternation of a certain social worker, I can honestly say that we have.

In the unlikely event that we ever get an answer to our questions I will let you know.

 

*Please don’t think that my rant-y-ness over this Social Worker indicates any sort of anti-social work stance. I know many fabulous ones and we have been extremely well supported at this end. I am just particularly irked by this one.

 

 

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Birth Parents

11 thoughts on “Birth Parents

  1. Charlotte says:

    This reflects so much how I feel about our Cub’s birth parents. It’s such a complex set of emotions and hard sometimes to know whether I’m motivated by a kind of guilt or by a more positive need to do the right thing for Cub. We also want to meet them but no-one seems to want to pursue this for us and there never seems to be a good time (contested adoption order, then a new baby).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it is lovely how compassionate you are. Nobody grows up thinking they want to let their children down, do they? I think it’s that compassion that makes you the perfect mum for Little Bear.

    I can feel the frustration re SW and while I don’t know anything about adoption maybe asking closed questions would yield better results? E.g. As you said, are they still alive, in prison, still together, have they had any other children, have they moved nearer to where you live? I’m not sure what info they’d be able to release but as you are planning for the future it might help you to prepare.

    Always enjoy reading your posts. Am in awe of your resilience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. Thank you. What an amazing comment. I can promise you that I don’t have an endless supply of resilience (did you read the PMS post?! 😂).
      I think you’re probably right about being more specific, I shouldn’t leave anything to chance with the person in question 😁.
      Thank you for reading x

      Like

  3. Oh boy, where to start… I have been feeling very similarly lately, which is a huge shift from how i felt at the beginning when we read the horror they subjected the boys to. But I met BM, we do write to each other 2x a year and I still find that VERY odd as I do NOT want to have a relationship with her, but I can’t avoid it either and the more i write and think about her the more connected we get, so let’s try to make the most of it, right?
    You are absolutely right, there should be more work post taking their child away and i get austerity and case overload and all the usual excuses, but still… I feel for BM a lot and I do want to know those things you asked as well. We found out by accident that BM got a new job as my boys’ sister’s new family saw her behind the counter one day so they quickly left that shop and told us so we can avoid it, imagine the problems we could have had – in my opinion this info should have been shared with us to protect the children especially since it’s a protected placement! Baaaah, your excellent post just makes me even more worked up about this! Ok, I stop my rant now. Hope the situation gets better for you guys one way of other. hugs, Feelingmumyet

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    1. Thank you for your comment. It’s such a weird dynamic isn’t it? I understand why you aren’t keen on having a relationship if BM has caused your boys ‘horror’. What a difficult situation to navigate!
      I fear we aren’t going to make much progress in our situation but fingers crossed eh?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love “blogging it out.” We have begun some visits with the Bio Dad of our youngest two. It’s gone much better than expected. I really like that the U.K. Has “letterbox” service. We don’t have that in the states per se. In the case of open adoption we agree to send letters ourselves, either through a PO box or email etc. The contact is left to birth/adoptive parents and social workers wash their hands of it all. It also varies from state to state. We just mail to our actual addresses. We aren’t worried about our safety or the safety of the kids. Everyone has a different story, though. I am curious as to what “LA” stands for. Listing Agency?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LA is Local Authority – the local, state funded bit that often places children/ cares for them.
      Do you mean you don’t have to worry about your safety/ the safety of your kids or that it should be more of a concern but currently isn’t? I think your system over there is quite different isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

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